I had a chance to sit down and interview our Head Brewer and Production Manager, Kyle, the other day. We chatted about our Jenny’s Margarita Gose and the Gose beer style in general. We cover how our Jenny’s Margarita Gose came to be, the important steps in the process of brewing it, food pairing tips and suggestions, plus even more cool things about this brew.
Clark: How did this beer go from idea to reality? What was the deciding factor on making it a Margarita Gose?
Kyle: Cathy. Cathy is the sole reason this beer is a spin off of the classic Margarita. I was trying to introduce Cathy to the style of sour beers when she asked for me to make a beer that tastes similar to a Margarita. Thinking about it, Goses are the perfect template for modeling a beer around the idea of a margarita. It has the saltiness and the tang that you find in margaritas. Bada-bing bada-boom and there you have it.
For those who don’t know who Cathy may be, she is our Brewery Operations Manager. She holds down the fort and gives us reality checks when we are about to go all in a stellar, but not as thought through of an idea. You could say she’s the work-mom of the production facility and keeps all of us in line here.
C: What is the most crucial part of the process when brewing this beer?
K: The souring! In our facility we do a kettle-souring process where we do something like a half brew day. We begin with our initial brew with our grain, our mash, all that good stuff and from there we collect it in our boil kettle and that is where we begin to sour the beer. This kind of puts a damper on our day-to-day schedule because for the bacteria to produce the lactic acid that gives a Gose it’s zing, it takes around two to three days.
C: You’re trying to pair a dish with this beer, whether a starter or the main course, what would pair best with this?
K: I’d put this up to something that has some kick to it like some jalapeno poppers for starters or fajitas or a stir-fry for a main dish.
C: You mentioned that the souring is the most important part of brewing this beer so what’s the worst thing that could happen while you are brewing this beer?
K: When you’re working with a kettle sour, you always have a chance of contamination occurring. The boil kettle isn’t designed to be closed off, but we do our best to limit the amount of oxygen by purging the vessel with CO2. However, we are playing around with a range of temperatures where other bacteria thrive and have the potential to crash the party and create off flavors. It’s a fine balance of keeping the good bacteria happy and safe while keeping out the bad bacteria.
C: In the description of the Jenny’s Margarita Gose, you say there is a pinch of salt. Without revealing a component to the secret recipe, how much does the salt really equate to?
K: *He laughs* In a full batch we’re adding a pinch less than five pounds because it’s a lighter beer. In a Gose, salt isn’t there to be the prevalent characteristic, it’s there to balance to out the tartness.
C: With yesterday being National Homebrew Day…
K: It was?.. missed that one.
C: Is the Gose style a beer that you could brew at home or would this be difficult to do with the risk of infection run high?
K: You could do it. You just need to make sure you’re diligent when it comes to the sanitation process of your equipment. Some homebrewers I know have their own dedicated sour brewing equipment.
C: If you like this Margarita Gose, what other styles of beer would you be likely to gravitate towards?
K: If you’re a fan of this you would probably like most other Goses. In terms of another style, you would probably want to check out some Berliner Weisse. A Berliner Weisse is a lightly soured beer that traditionally run around 3% ABV.
C: Sounds crushable, probably a great beer for summer.
K: SUPER CRUSHABLE, I LOVE THEM.
C: Now with the Gose style, where does it fall on your scale of one to ten? One being, keep it far, far away from me or ten being, bury it with me.
K: *Instantly* Embalm me with it.
C: I will mark that as ‘off the charts’.
K: Goses have always been one of my favorite styles. If I see one on a shelf or a tap list, I buy it.
C: So when you’re drinking a Gose…
K: Slam it.
C: before you even take your first sip, describe what are you expecting in terms of an exceptional Gose?
K: When I drink a Gose or really any style of German beer, I’m looking for balance. German brewing is all about balance and they are sticklers for perfection, so if it’s out of balance it’s not going to do it for me.
C: Now I just want to thank you for taking the time to sit down with me, but I have one final question.
K: Ah, this is where they always get you.
C: If you had to name your favorite Gose that you’ve ever had, which one would it be?
K: Easy, Ritterguts Gose. It’s the best I’ve had and therefore is my favorite Gose. It’s brewed in Chemnitz, Germany by Brauerei Reichenbrand so it is super hard to find around here. The closest place that I’ve found it multiple times was Chicago and there was one time I came across it while in the Detroit area, but it’s been over a year since I have last had one.